THE DOCTRINE OF THE AGE OF THE EARTH

A Look at what the Bible Says

 

 

            Since God has revealed Himself to us in Scripture, and the doctrine that He wants taught in His church is nothing other than what the Bible says; it should be obvious that those who refuse to teach what the Bible says about the age of the earth, or affirm that it is true, do so because another authority has replaced the authority of Scripture in their lives.

The delusion which grips our present age is so virulent that unprepared theologians retreat from the skeptics in fear, like puppies afraid of a reprimand. Instead of answering their false claims with a resounding “Thus saith the Lord,” they turn on Scripture in a vain and foolish attempt to make the words of Scripture agree with their own ignorance. Like victims of an hallucination, they act as if God did not know what He was doing when He caused the words of Genesis to be written. They blindly try to make the Bible say what it clearly does not say, and never was intended to say. Nevertheless, God knew from the beginning what the skeptics would be saying. He knew perfectly well that they would claim that the earth is millions of years old. And because of His love for us, because He did not want us to be deceived, He designed the book of Genesis to exclude any possibility of “millions of years”. And having done that, He wants us to believe and teach exactly what He said, not what men think (Isaiah 8:20).

 

GOD’S RECORD OF THE AGE OF THE EARTH

 

Genesis Chapter 1:1-5

1 ¶ In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2  And the earth was without form, and empty; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 ¶ And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4  And God saw that the light was good: and God separated the light from the darkness.

5  And God called the light Day, and called the darkness Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

[Comment: In verse five God defines the word day by the light shining on the earth. Furthermore, the fact that the light was separated from the darkness, and that God uses the words “evening and morning” to describe that first day, tell us that the first day was the same length as any other day that has an “evening and morning”.]

 

Genesis Chapter 1:6-2:3

And the evening and the morning were the second day… And the evening and the morning were the third day… And the evening and the morning were the fourth day… And the evening and the morning were the fifth day… And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth, and everything in them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy: because on that day he had rested from all the work he did in creating the world.

[Comment: God used the words “evening” and “morning” to define and describe these days in order to make it clear that He only took seven ordinary days, seven evenings and mornings, to make the heavens, the earth, and all that is in them.]

 

Exodus Chapter 20:9-11

Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or a foreigner who is within your gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything that is in them, and rested on the seventh day: for that reason the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and made it holy.

[Comment: God here explicitly tells us how He wants the words of Genesis (those quoted above) understood, by telling us that the seven days of Genesis were one week in length.]

 

FROM ADAM TO ABRAHAM

 

Because God created Adam and Eve on the sixth day, we know that the entire universe is less than six days older than they are. However, God did not stop with just telling how long it took to make the heavens and earth. Because God did not want us to be deceived by the devil’s lies, He included a detailed linage of each generation from Adam to Abraham. That linage gives us a record of the age of the earth that takes us right up to the age of recorded history – a record that clearly refutes the “prehistoric” mythology so popular in secular literature.

 

Genesis Chapter 5:1-32

1   This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, he made him in the likeness of God;

2  Male and female he created them; and blessed them, and called them human, on the day when they were created.

3  And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and fathered a son in his own  likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

4  And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:

5  And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

6   And Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begat Enos:

7  And Seth lived after he fathered Enos eight hundred and seven years, and fathered sons and daughters:

8  And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.

9  And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan:

10  And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters:

11  And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.

12  And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel:

13  And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters:

14  And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.

15  And Mahalaleel lived and sixty-five years, and begat Jared:

16  And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters:

17  And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred and ninety-five years: and he died.

18  And Jared lived an hundred and sixty-two years, and he begat Enoch:

19  And Jared lived after he fathered Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:

20  And all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years: and he died.

21   And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:

22  And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:

23  And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:

24  And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

25   And Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and begat Lamech:

26  And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred and eighty-two years, and begat sons and daughters:

27  And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years: and he died.

28   And Lamech lived one hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:

29  And he called his name Noah, saying, This one will bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.

30  And after he begat Noah Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years, and begat sons and daughters:

31  And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years: and he died.

32  And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

 [Comment: This linage is carefully worded to preclude any claim that some generations may have been omitted. Since the key factor in determining the amount of time which transpired is the number of years that passed between the birth of each patriarch and the birth of his son, we have an exact record of the time. And, these verses tell us that Noah was born one thousand and fifty six years after the creation of Adam, and his sons were born five hundred years after that.]

 

Genesis Chapter 11:10-26

10 ¶ These are the generations of Shem: Shem was one hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood:

11  And Shem lived after he begat Arphaxad five hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.

12  And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat Salah:

13  And Arphaxad lived after he begat Salah four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.

14  And Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber:

15  And Salah lived after he begat Eber four hundred and three years, and begat sons and daughters.

16  And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg:

17  And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters.

18  And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu:

19  And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters.

20  And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug:

21  And Reu lived after he begat Serug two hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters.

22  And Serug lived thirty years, and begat Nahor:

23  And Serug lived after he begat Nahor two hundred years, and begat sons and daughters.

24  And Nahor lived nine and twenty years, and begat Terah:

25  And Nahor lived after he begat Terah an hundred and nineteen years, and begat sons and daughters.

26  And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

[Comment: A comparison of Genesis 5:32, 7:6 and 11:10 tell us that Noah was five-hundred and two years old when Shem was born. This chapter then tells us that there were three hundred and twenty years between the birth of Shem and the birth of Terah, the father of Abram (Abraham, Gen. 17:5). So Terah was born one thousand, eight-hundred, and seventy-eight years after the world was created.]

 

Genesis Chapter 11:32 and 12:1-4

32  And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.

1   Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Depart from your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you:

2  And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you will be a blessing:

3  And I will bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you: and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.

4   So Abram departed, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

 [Comment: Since Terah was two hundred and five years old when he died, and Abram (Abraham) was seventy five years old at that time, we know that Terah was about one hundred and thirty years old when Abram was born. Therefore, Abraham was born approximately two thousand and eight years after the world was created.]

 

Genesis 21:5  And Abraham was one hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

Genesis 25:26  And after that his brother came out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

[Comment: These verses tell us that Isaac was born when Abraham was one hundred years old, and Jacob (Israel) was born when Isaac was sixty years old. Thus Jacob was born approximately two thousand one hundred and sixty-eight years after the world was created.]

 

Genesis 47:28  And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was one hundred and forty-seven years.

[Comment: Thus Jacob died in Egypt approximately two thousand three hundred and fifteen years after the world was created. And this date brings us right up to the beginning of secular history.]

 

[NOTE: Besides the verses quoted above the Bible also makes certain statements that can be used to correlate the Genesis record with secular history. For example: God said to Abraham, “For four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them; and they will afflict them;” (Genesis 15:13). The Apostle Paul also tells us that the period of judges lasted about, “four hundred and fifty years” (Acts 13:20). Solomon began to build the temple four years after he became king, and 480 years after the Exodus (1Kings 6:1). It took seven years to build the temple, and it appears to have been dedicated twenty-four years after he began his reign (after he finished both the Temple and his own house, 1Kings 9:10, 2Chronicles 7:1-11).

As to recorded history: The dedication of Solomon’s Temple is generally dated at or around 970 BC. Jewish sources tell us that Temple stood for 410 years. The date given for the siege and fall of Jerusalem is 588-586 BC. And, the date given for the return of the Jews to Israel is 536 BC.]

 

CONCLUSION

 

In his massive work, “THE ANNALS OF THE WORLD” James Ussher correlates the Biblical timeline with recorded history, and in so doing has calculated the year of Jacob’s death at 1689 BC. Although individual scholars may have questions that are not answered by Scripture, the words’ “My sheep hear my voice,” tell us that no one who is truly a disciple of Christ will ever deny or contradict what the Bible says about the age of the earth, nor will they try to read millions of years into the text (John 10:27, Isaiah 8:20).

 

“The question is not: Is this or that doctrine clearly stated in the Confessions? But: Is this or that doctrine set forth in God’s Word? If it is set forth in Holy Writ, it is for this reason a church dogma, even though not a word is said about it in the Confessions of the church. The reason for this is not difficult to perceive. The Christian Church is not the lord of God’s doctrine, but only its servant. Its paramount purpose is not to create new doctrines but to preach the doctrines which its Lord has revealed. The dogmatician who draws his teachings from any other source than Holy Scriptures perpetrates an inexcusable fraud upon the Church… Christian ministers, teachers, and missionaries must proclaim to their hearers God’s Word, not their own, so that… not one doctrine is taught that is not in agreement with Holy Scripture.” (Christian Dogmatics, by John Theodore Mueller, pages 62, 63.)

 

Gary Ray Branscome

www.branscome.org